'Deadpool' Denied Release in China Due to Graphic Violence

The Ryan Reynolds anti-superhero movie has been denied permission to screen in the world's second-largest movie market.
'Deadpool'  Joe Lederer/Twentieth Century Fox

Fanboys worldwide are agog with anticipation for the upcoming release of Fox's R-rated 'anti-superhero' movie Deadpool — it got the most rousing reception of any title previewed at Comic Con last year — but China's censors have taken a far less enthusiastic view of the film.

According to widespread local media reports, Deadpool, which was produced by 20th Century Fox and based on the Marvel comic book character, has been denied permission to screen in China due to its violence, nudity and graphic language.

A source close to the decision at China Film Group tells The Hollywood Reporter that the reports are indeed accurate. 

Directed by Tim Miller and starring Ryan Reynolds as the most foul-mouthed and self-aware superhero — or anti-hero — in the Marvel catalog, Deadpool hits theaters stateside on Feb. 12. 

China's censorship authorities often work with Hollywood studios to create special cleaned-up cuts of R-rated movies, but sources close to the Deadpool decision say it wasn't possible to excise the offending material without causing plot problems.

China has no ratings system, so the country's media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), makes an up-down judgment on all film imports, approving or banning them for consumption by Chinese viewers of all ages.

Despite the film's more adult tone and content, many observers had predicted that Deadpool would find a way into the China market, thanks to the Marvel imprimatur. 

Movies based on Marvel comic books have done huge business in China, which is now the world's second-largest theatrical market. Avengers: Age of Ultron grossed $240 million last summer, while more offbeat titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man grossed $96.4 million and $105.4 million, respectively.

Deadpool co-stars T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin and Brianna Hildebrand. It tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative-turned-mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds), who, after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool.

20th Century Fox declined to comment. 

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